The student representative on the San Diego County Board of Education in June was Billy, a junior at Monarch School.
Billy was recognized by Principal Michael Paredes and the staff at Monarch for his dedication and involvement in the school community, which didn’t always come easily to Billy, who has been at the school for four years.
“When I first started at Monarch, I was a very shy kid,” Billy said. “I would be that kid that sits in the corner and hopes that nobody notices him. With the help of my teachers and fellow classmates, I realized it’s important to be a part of your community. My advice to other students is to get involved in your community, even if it’s something small; a community is a bunch of small things working together to make something bigger!”
Billy currently participates in the school's Associated Student Body, San Diego Public Defenders Youth Council, and The Monarch Restorative Team.
“Billy strives for success with everything that he does,” Paredes said. “He is a hard worker in his classes and does his best to encourage his peers to do their best.”
Billy is looking to attend community college before transferring to a four-year university and gain experience in either zoology or marine biology.
In addition to assistance from the staff and his peers at Monarch, Billy said his mom has been his biggest supporter.
“Through my whole life, the person that has helped me the most is my mom,” he said. “She has been with me through thick and thin. I have gone to her when I’m unsure of something or when I need cheering up; she has been my greatest supporter. I look up to her as my mother, mentor, and friend.”
Each month, the County Board of Education recognizes a student from the San Diego County Office of Education's (SDCOE) Juvenile Court and Community Schools program at its regular meeting.
"In addition to giving the board a chance to honor a student, participation in the meeting also gives students valuable experience in leadership," said Dr. Paul Gothold, San Diego County superintendent of schools.
SDCOE's Juvenile Court and Community Schools program educates nearly 5,000 students each year who are either wards of the court or have been referred by social services, Probation, or one of the county's 42 school districts. Services are provided at more than 20 sites across the county to students who are incarcerated, pregnant or parenting, in foster care, expelled, chronically truant, in drug treatment centers and group homes for neglected or abused children, and experiencing homelessness.
Pictured above: Billy with Board of Education Vice President Mark Powell